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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 07 Dec 2014 09:57 #1

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I bought the Pure Latex Bliss Nature last February after much deliberation and research on this and other websites. For the first several months I was very comfortable. I've always had back issues and had been through several conventional innersprings in the last few years. I religiously turned the mattress according to a schedule provided by the retailer. Several months ago, the mattress started feeling very soft, and I noticed definite depressions forming. The impressions are not particularly visually noticeable, but they are significantly softer than other parts of the mattress and are causing me to wake up with terrible lower back pain. They are approximately 1/2" when measured so will not be covered under the warranty which requires them to be at least 3/4". When I first noticed the impressions, we placed a very thick (3/4" maybe?) piece of plywood between the mattress and the boxspring I had put the mattress on (which I was advised was sufficient by the retailer as it was a sturdy 2-year-old box spring.). I thought I could see a slight sag in the boxspring. If anything, the plywood seems to have made the mattress more uncomfortable. I'm not really sure what to do now, and I'm looking for suggestions. I'm actually not even sure if the problem is that the mattress is too hard or too soft - I'm only guessing that it's too soft as it's gotten softer over time as would be expected and I was much more comfortable in the beginning. My husband, who doesn't have trouble sleeping on anything, is also waking up with lower back pain. We are on the large side - I'm 5'8" 185 lbs., and he's 6'1" 215 lbs. I don't know if pillows could have anything to do with low back pain, but I've had to use a higher profile (latex) pillow to alleviate shoulder pain which I believe is being referred from my neck. Suggestions and help would be much appreciated. I've spent so much money trying to get comfortable, and with latex being my last hope, not sure where to turn.

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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 07 Dec 2014 16:58 #2

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Hi lotus65,

I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing back pain on your mattress!

Based on quickly reading some of your previous posts and some of your previous experiences ... I would keep in mind that there may be no perfect solution because when you have pre-existing back issues a mattress may work well for you over a period of months and then no longer work as well if something changes and your back becomes more sensitive (see a very insightful post from another member in post #1 here ).

If you experience back pain when you wake up in the morning that goes away shortly after you get up then it is most often the result of a mattress that is too soft but if the back pain tends to continue over the course of the day then it's most likely the result of "non mattress" issues that may need to be resolved.

It's also possible that if you choose a mattress that is "on the edge" of being too soft for your body type and sleeping style when it is new then even a small amount of foam softening that would be in a normal range could be enough to put you over the edge and a mattress that worked well for you at first may no longer be as suitable to keep you in good alignment over the course of the night even though the mattress itself may not have any unusual issues (see post #2 here ).

"Fixing" a mattress that is too soft or that has developed some soft spots or virtual or visible impressions is very difficult because the most effective solution is usually removing and replacing the layers that are (or have become) too soft but there are some suggestions in post #4 here that may be helpful at least partially or temporarily (or in some cases can be a more long term solution).

If anything, the plywood seems to have made the mattress more uncomfortable.


If your lower back pain lessens with the plywood (or by putting the mattress on the floor) but the mattress becomes "uncomfortable" then you may have resolved one issue but traded it for another one. This would actually be good news because it would indicate that your foundation was sagging and was likely contributing to the back pain (the mattress will follow any sag in the support system) but you may now need a topper to add the additional comfort or pressure relief that you need on your mattress. It would depend on what you mean by "uncomfortable".

If you are in good alignment with the plywood and decide that all you need is a topper then post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the best chance of success.

I'm actually not even sure if the problem is that the mattress is too hard or too soft - I'm only guessing that it's too soft as it's gotten softer over time as would be expected and I was much more comfortable in the beginning.


There is more information about the more common "symptoms" that people tend to experience on a mattress and the more common reasons behind them (to the degree it is connected to the mattress) in post #2 here . The odds are higher that the symptoms you are describing would come from a mattress that is too soft rather than too firm but this may not always be the case because each person can be very different from the next and the same symptoms can come from several different causes.

I don't know if pillows could have anything to do with low back pain, but I've had to use a higher profile (latex) pillow to alleviate shoulder pain which I believe is being referred from my neck.


Pillows that aren't a good match for a particular person are usually connected to upper body issues so it's less likely that a pillow is the cause but anything is possible. The best way to find out would be by a process of elimination and by using a lower profile pillow to see how it affects your lower back issues or if they are resolved.

It may take some trial and error to decide on the types of changes that may be most helpful but the most effective approach is to first eliminate the "non mattress" possibilities (foundation, any mattress pads or mattress protectors you are using, pillow issues etc) and to carefully decide on the types of changes that would have the highest odds of success and making small incremental changes to see how your symptoms change and the "direction" of the change (whether they made things a little better or worse).

I've spent so much money trying to get comfortable, and with latex being my last hope, not sure where to turn.


I would always keep in mind that the design of a mattress and how well it matches your unique needs and preferences is always much more important than the types of materials and components that are inside it. There are hundreds of mattress variations in each mattress category and a latex mattress (or any type of mattress or materials) that is a "perfect" match for one person may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on.

Phoenix
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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 05:44 #3

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As always Phoenix, thank you for your comprehensive reply. I've read through your suggested posts and have come to the conclusion that for the most part, it's just me. As soon as a mattress forms any bit of impression, my back starts to hurt, no matter what it's made of.

One thing I'm curious about though is my foundation. I do believe the latex has softened a bit too much for my back, but I also feel that the plywood has made the mattress firmer if it possibly makes any sense that the bed is both too firm and too soft at the same time -- maybe it makes the support layer firmer while the comfort layer is still too soft? I was definitely more comfortable with the boxspring before it started sagging. I've seen the links to the adjustable tension foundations, particularly one from Ikea (Lonset) which I was considering because it's inexpensive. (Actually I don't think that one is manually adjustable, but it says it adjusts to your body weight.) Might something like this provide more of a boxspring-type feel? Or will it just cause my hips to sink more if that's actually what's happening? I'm hesitant to just buy another boxspring because I don't know what can support the weight of my king mattress. I believe the one I was using was a Simmons Triton foundation.

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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 06:02 #4

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What you have described about your PLB Nature is exactly what happened with our PLB Beautiful! Which did sag 3/4" over several months and was replaced. Now the replacement mattress is doing the same thing. Ours is on solid top foundations (tempurpedic).

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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 06:24 #5

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Wow Scubamom - are they replacing the mattress a second time? How long was it before it started to sag? I expect that since my mattress is less than a year old it will eventually become a 3/4" depression as it's already at 1/2".

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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 10:21 #6

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I actually was going to start a new thread called PLB Beautiful fails again, but depending on where this one goes, Phoenix might want to rename it since we are having exactly the same issues and both need to figure this out and solve the problem! :-)

Like you, I'm pretty sensitive to sags and changing mattresses. I'm 5' 8" and 155#, hubby is 6'3" and 200#, both side sleepers. We went through three Simmons World Class Beautyrests in 4 years! I found this forum because I wanted something "lasting" so we didn't have to keep buying new beds. I grew up on Latex and loved it and that bed lasted almost 25 years.

In the last 9 months, we've tried Tempurpedic, Sterns and Foster Hybrid (the offgassing fumes got me)... and then turned those in for the PLB Latex.

We started on a Nature, but even with a 2" PLB topper, it was too firm for me. My hips sank enough to feel the 28 ILD (is what it felt like) even with the topper. So we traded that in for a Beautiful (#1) Delivered June 1.

Loved it so much that 3 weeks later ordered a PLB Beautiful (#2) for our second home which was delivered July 16. It is still as supportive and wonderful as the first day we received it and I'm going to guess that we've slept on it about 2 months total off and on since July.

The first of August, #1 started changing. It was losing support and we no longer "floated" on top of it... more like our mid section and shoulders were sagging into it. It affected my leg muscles too... I'd wake up with my bottom leg stretched out and upper leg rotated over a pillow trying to stabilize my back maybe? Woke up aching all over and lower back was really having problems. Spent a LOT of time at the chiropractor and masseuse who both told me to do something about the bed. We noticed the bed started looking like two cots pushed together with sags down the middle of each side. Also discovered the PLB foundation had no solid top on it which was adding to the problem, so replaced those with solid top Tempurpedic foundations. The bed (and my back) got worse. I started filing a claim with PLB in September and the retailer picked up the Bed #1 (and the foundations) and replaced with a Simmons Black Plush which we didn't like at all.

Latex International took forever to "work" the warranty claim... our retailer sent tons of photos trying to show the 3/4" sags. We gave up on Latex International doing anything after a month of this.

Bed #2 at our second home was still great with no problems, and I was so miserable with the Simmons that we ordered a PLB Beautiful from Mattress To Go at a VERY good price and with great service. Granted, it took three weeks to reach us, but then we live in the "back 40" of South Texas.

Meanwhile, 10 days after I'd ordered the Beautiful, the claim came through! It was on a Wednesday, and the replacement mattress was delivered to our retailer on Friday! They brought it down (3 hour drive) a few days later on October 14 - picked up the Simmons (thank you) and left Beautiful #3 the warranty replacement. (is this getting crazy or what)?

Mattress To Go Beautiful (#4) was delivered on October 24 and went upstairs to our guest room.

No I never planned to have/order/have replaced all this but it's the way it worked out.

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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 10:40 #7

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Hi lotus65,

I believe the one I was using was a Simmons Triton foundation.


The Simmons Triton is a foundation not a box spring. It doesn't have any springs inside it so it would have very limited flex. If the surface is still even (you can check with a straight edge or a tight string across the surface) then it would be fine to use under your mattress.

I also feel that the plywood has made the mattress firmer if it possibly makes any sense that the bed is both too firm and too soft at the same time -- maybe it makes the support layer firmer while the comfort layer is still too soft?


The plywood would eliminate any slight flexing under your mattress that comes from the foundation which would make it feel firmer. Most people wouldn't notice a great deal of difference between the Triton and the plywood because any flex in the Triton foundation would be fairly small but some people may be more sensitive and feel a larger difference.

It's very possible that a mattress can be both too firm and too soft at the same time. For example it could be too firm under the shoulders and too soft under the hips or the deeper layers could be too soft and the upper layers could be too firm for a specific body type or sleeping style (or vice versa).

I've seen the links to the adjustable tension foundations, particularly one from Ikea (Lonset) which I was considering because it's inexpensive. (Actually I don't think that one is manually adjustable, but it says it adjusts to your body weight.) Might something like this provide more of a boxspring-type feel?


It would have more flex under the mattress than the Triton. It could make the problem worse because it would flex more under the heavier parts of your body but the only way to know whether it would be helpful or detrimental would be to try it. The Lonset may be a better choice for a flexible foundation because you could firm up the center section under the heavier part of your body.

It may be worth trying some of the zoning suggestions in the previous post I linked to see if they help.

Phoenix
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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 11:05 #8

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A couple weeks ago... Replacement Bed #3 started changing, very much like PLB #1 which it replaced!! I couldn't believe it. We can't visually see the sags (yet), but they are no doubt coming. Like you, we've turned all our beds - in our case 90 Degrees every couple weeks. Despite this... the middle of the bed (about 12" wide) is trying to maintain the original support of the whole bed. It's the only place it feels normal. I've purposely slept right in the middle for the last couple weeks and it seems to be losing a bit of support now.

So, we moved NEW #4 to our room and failing #3 to the guest room. Yes, we can both tell the difference in the failing one and the "just started sleeping on it #4. We "float" on #4 (as with all of them when they were new) yet with the 2" PLB topper have the pressure relief we need. Husband described the failing one as "it feels harder" and that's same for me. From what we can tell, the upper layer or layers of the Beautiful compress and yet support, but then the failing ones seem to soften enough to just compress right down to the medium layer which kills the "float" and the pressure relief.

If these beds (failed #1 and failing #3) were 3 or 4 years old, I might not be so concerned, but we are talking months here. And really the comfort and support started changing on both at about 6 weeks, slowly getting worse and worse.

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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 12:04 #9

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That's crazy Scubamom. I didn't think there could be anyone that's gone through more beds than I have! I hope you get it all sorted out. I myself am not sure what I should do. My husband cringes every time I say the word "bed" or "mattress." I guess I'll just have to wait it out and see if the holes get a little deeper.

Phoenix I did put a straight edge across the foundation and I did find it to be sagging. That was what prompted me to put the plywood on top of it, which seems to have made the mattress feel worse. I guess I am one of those more sensitive people as the mattress didn't seem to feel quite as firm on the Triton foundation as it does on the plywood.

Where do you put the Lonset base? Right now I have a metal frame, the foundation, the plywood and the mattress.

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PLB Nature and Low Back Pain 09 Dec 2014 12:21 #10

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Hi Scubamom,

What you have described about your PLB Nature is exactly what happened with our PLB Beautiful! Which did sag 3/4" over several months and was replaced. Now the replacement mattress is doing the same thing. Ours is on solid top foundations (tempurpedic).


Wow ... that certainly isn't good news.

I'm hopeful that this isn't pointing to a quality control issue with PLB/Latex International similar to what happened a few years ago.

It could also be an issue with 14 ILD latex itself in combination with certain body types, sleeping styles, or levels of sensitivity because very soft materials of any type will be less durable than firmer versions of the same material and some manufacturers I know won't warranty a mattress that uses latex that is that soft because of the potential for durability issues.

While your issues may be different from the specific issues lotus65 is experiencing ... I'm hopeful that they don't have lowered quality control as a common root because the Nature uses firmer latex than the Beautiful so it wouldn't be an issue of the mattress using 14 ILD latex. If this is a quality control issue then it will also start showing up in other mattresses made by other manufacturers that are also using Latex International Talalay.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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